Pope Francis welcomed news on Sunday that his Twitter account @pontifex had attracted more than 10 million followers.

"Dear Followers I understand there are now over 10 million of you! I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me," the pontiff tweeted early Sunday.

Francis's predecessor Pope Benedict XVI had opened the account on December 12, and interest in tweets from the pontiff surged after the Argentine pope was elected in March.

People around the world follow @pontifex in nine languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish and Latin.

Followers in Spanish are the largest group at four million, followed by English with three million and over more than million in Italian.